NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Cancer Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 27, 1999

Contact: Linda Anderson
(301) 496-9600

NCI Press Office
(301) 496-6641

Note to Reporters and Editors:

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will hold town meetings on Long Island the week of Oct. 18 to call for available background information about possible environmental hazards in the region. This information could be important for research on relationships between local environmental pollutants and breast cancer.

Residents of Long Island may have information on the locations of closed facilities such as gas stations; underground fuel storage tanks; storage, maintenance and fueling facilities for trucks, buses, and cars; power stations; military bases; and other small industries, past and present. Many of these closed facilities may have gone unrecorded, and such information may not be available in national, state, and local databases. Residents may also have historical information on land use before the mid-1970s when record keeping improved to include agricultural crop lands.

The town meetings will be held in four locations, and will include afternoon and evening sessions. The schedule is:

The information provided at the town meetings is for development of a prototype geographic information system (GIS) that will map potential sources of pollution that researchers can study for a possible association with breast cancer patterns. GISs are powerful computer systems that can store, manipulate, analyze and display spatial (geographic location) relationships. In recent years GIS studies have been used to look for factors associated with public health issues.

NCI scientists will present a brief overview of the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project (LIBCSP) and the GIS. Community members will be invited to discuss their historical information on land use with the NCI researchers. Residents who cannot attend the meetings may still wish to contribute information by writing to: LIBCSP - GIS, c/o NOVA Research Co., 4600 East-West Highway, Suite 700, Bethesda, MD 20814-3415. To obtain the schedule for the meetings or to arrange for special needs (by Oct. 10), residents may call toll-free 1-877-GIS-HLTH (1-877-447-4584).

In May of this year, NCI awarded a five-year contract for development of this GIS, with funding for the first two years (phase I) totaling $4.87 million. The system is being developed as part of the LIBCSP, a multistudy effort to investigate whether environmental factors are responsible for breast cancer in Suffolk and Nassau counties. The investigation began in 1993 under Public Law 103-43 and is funded and coordinated by NCI, in collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). NCI and NIEHS are both part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Additional information on the LIBCSP and the GIS, including the initial data sets slated for inclusion in the system, is available at http://www-dccps.ims.nci.nih.gov/LIBCSP.